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Most of the suggestions made for medical school applicants are applicable here as well.
- Coursework: The requirements for dental school admission are similar to those for medical school admission. In addition, many dental schools now require a course in biochemistry. Students from any major who have completed these requirements can be admitted. Evidence of manual dexterity is also necessary (ex. playing an instrument, crafting, painting, woodworking, etc.).
- Volunteer work: Volunteer work ideally should involve experience in a dental office, dental clinic, or hospital setting working with dental-related specialties. Fifty hours are required by the HSAEC before evaluation. The Delaware State Dental Society has established a mentoring program for the University of Delaware's pre-dental students. Contact the Delaware State Dental Society at (302) 368-7634 for information on participating dentists. Research activities and teaching experience are also considered favorably by most dental schools.
- Procedures: Dental school applicants must follow the procedures outlined above for medical school applicants regarding University of Delaware procedures and evaluation by the HSAEC.
- Testing: The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is required. This exam is computer based and you will receive your results immediately. It consists of four sections: Survey of Natural Sciences (Biology, General and Organic Chemistry); Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Reasoning; and Perceptual Ability. This test is sponsored by the American Dental Association. There are many commercially available review books with practice examinations as well as prep courses from Princeton Review and Kaplan available. Most dental schools will not review your application until you take the DAT, so check the application deadlines and make sure you take it well ahead of time, certainly no later than October of the application year. You do NOT need to take the DAT before you submit your application.
- Application: The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) sponsors an application service, the AADSAS, that provides one common application that is then sent to all dental schools to which the student is applying. The deadline for receipt of this application at the AADSAS headquarters is April 1 of the entering year. Be careful here! Many dental schools require that you complete your applications much earlier. You should check this out with the dental school. The application is available online around May 15 of each year. APPLY AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! It takes time for AADSAS to process this application and send it to the dental schools on your list. Early submission puts you at the greatest advantage and provides the best chance to be in an early interview pool. Once the dental school receives the AADSAS application they will review it and may send you a secondary application if you have fulfilled all the requirements for admission. Fill the secondary application out promptly as well. After review of the secondary application, you will be invited for an interview if you are to be considered further. Not all schools require a secondary application. Interviews may begin as early as late August and the first round of acceptance letters are mailed around Dec. 1.
Opportunity for Delaware Residents
In 2006, the Delaware Institute for Dental Education & Research (DIDER) entered into a financial agreement with the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA to reserve six admissions slots in each entering class for Delaware residents. In 2009, the partnership with Temple University guarantees admission to five qualified students from Delaware in its entering class of dental students. Eligible applicants for the DIDER program must meet the academic requirements of Temple University and be legal residents of Delaware. Students selected for the DIDER program will also receive a minimum of a $1,000 tuition stipend. Details on the DIDER-Temple agreement can be found at the
Advice for Future Dentists
The following advice has been primarily provided by UD students who successfully made it to dental school. Upon graduation many reflected that they wished they had known as freshmen what they knew as seniors. They agreed to share their wisdom with future students, so the following thoughts are for you!
Freshman Year (first semester)
- Get off to a good start. Average GPA for entering dental students is approximately 3.5.
- Begin taking core (required courses): Calculus, Biology I and II, Chemistry I and II, Organic I and II, Physics I and II, Biochemistry and two English courses. Check individual schools for specific requirements and recommended courses.
- Contact the pre-dental advisor: Dr. Patricia Walsh.
- Join UD's Pre-dental society (contact the Pre-dental society at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information).
- Get friendly with professors. Begin thinking about personal references.
- Save everything from the required courses (for the DAT) - this will save you a lot of money when studying for the DAT. Note: physics and biochemistry are not covered on the DAT.
- Get familiar with the ADEA web site.
Freshmen Year (second semester)
- Same as the first.
Freshman Year (summer)
- Get friendly with a dentist - ask to "shadow" him or her. It is helpful to establish a "shadowing" relationship with a particular dentist, but also shadow a variety of specialists.
- Look into volunteering at a dental clinic. Check out the website for the Delaware State Dental Society (DSDS) for a list of dental clinics in Delaware or call DSDS at (302) 368-7634 for information on dentists participating in the DSDS mentoring program for UD pre-dental students. For clinics in other states, check the website of that state's dental society. Remember, if you choose to go through HSAEC, you need 50 hours of volunteer work.
- Try to find a job in the dental field.
Sophomore Year (first semester)
- Continue doing well in school (especially your required courses).
- Start asking for recommendations from professors and open your HSAEC file - see Ms. Ramona Wilson in 115A Wolf Hall.
Sophomore Year (second semester)
- Consider undergraduate research.
- Consider taking BISC 422, Teaching Experience, which is the first step to becoming a biology TA.
Sophomore Year (summer)
- "Shadow" a dentist or volunteer. It is good to get this done early since next summer will be very busy.
- Begin drafting your personal statement for the HSAEC (due in April) of junior year.
- Investigate summer (or winter) pre-dental programs. Some of our students have attended Gateway to Dentistry at UMDNJ, Dentistry Today at University of Maryland and Summer Medical and Dental Education Program.
Junior Year (first semester)
- Open up your folder for the HSAEC if you have not already done so; see Ms. Ramona Wilson in 115A Wolf Hall.
- Continue getting personal references (this is VERY important - do not put this off!).
- Refine your personal statement. The Writing Center (016 Memorial Hall) is a good resource and can provide valuable suggestions.
- Start taking upper level courses that dental schools recommend. Consult dental school websites for suggested courses.
- Begin to research dental schools - find out their requirements (some schools require extra courses). You may find PreDents.com and The Student Doctor Network to be helpful resources.
- Continue doing research and/or teaching at the university.
Junior Year (second semester)
- Finish getting personal references.
- Finish and submit your final draft of your personal statement.
- Make sure that your file is complete for the committee.
- Prepare for the interviews with the HSAEC (advice: do mock interviews with yourself in the mirror; ask others to interview you - the interview is important so be prepared. The Career Services Center offers mock interviews which they videotape and review with you.
- Upon notification from Ms. Ramona Wilson, promptly contact your interviewers to arrange for interview appointments. Dress appropriately for your HSAEC interview. Arrive for the interview on time. Write a letter thanking the interviewers for their time.
- Begin studying for the DAT. If you saved the books from your courses you may not need to take an instructive course, but many students find prep courses helpful. Find books that will help you study for the exam such as "Barron's Guide to the DAT." Get familiar with the computer format; get the free computer tutorial. Use a stopwatch and practice under time constraints.
Junior Year (summer)
- Take the DAT - Be sure you are ready. If you are unhappy with your scores, you can't retake the DAT for 90 days. Make sure that you take it early enough, so if you need to retake it, you can retake it before the application deadlines. (Example: Take it in early June, so you can retake it in September).
- Receive letter from HSAEC - (if it isn't what you expected, find out why).
- Fill out the AADSAS application online starting May 15th.
- Research dental schools - consider finances, location and reputation. (If you are unsure, you can call the schools and ask them how they scored on Part 2 of the boards - most will tell you). PreDents.com provides admissions data, tuition costs and links to the web sites of all schools. The ADEA site is also very helpful.
- Begin preparing for school interviews (financially as well).
Senior Year (first semester)
- Be persistent in finding out the status of your application - make sure the school received all of the necessary information.
- Fill out the secondary applications. Do this quickly but accurately... be persistent to insure that all the necessary information and fees were received... wait to hear the dates of your interviews.
- Before going on the interviews, study dental school web sites - this is very important in giving you an edge. Find out what the school concentrates on and try to remember some key names. Interview feedback can be found at The Student Doctor Network, but keep in mind that not everyone's interview experience will be the same.
- Go on the interviews. Be confident that you are prepared. Be ready to discuss your accomplishments. Be critical of the schools. The interview is your chance to see what the school is about. ASK QUESTIONS and find out everything you can about the school. It is especially important to ask the current students questions since they will give you the best perspective of the school.
- Write thank you notes to those who interviewed you. Try to mention something unique from the conversation you had with the interviewer so it sounds more personal.
- Wait to hear their response.
Senior Year (second semester)
- Decide which dental school you will attend
- Fill out your FAFSA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It is available Jan. 1. It is beneficial to have your tax records, as well as your parents', on hand, so begin tax preparation ASAP.
- Fill out the necessary paper work, especially financial aid applications.
- Search for scholarships. You might want to try FastWeb, a free scholarship search service.